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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  June 19, 2010 1:00am-2:00am EDT

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>> larry: thank you, ava, neal, mayer and jack. good seeing you again. be well. >> thank you. you're welcome and it was excellent coverage. >> larry: thank you. >> thank you, larry. >> larry: kevorkian airs monday night. monday night, disaster in the gulf, how you can help. it begins at 8:00, two hours! right now -- two hours now with "ac 360." good evening. it is day 60 in the gulf coast catastrophe and after a week, the white house and testimony on capitol hill, today the focus once again on the ever-spreading oil. tonight, we'll show you how residents are trying to cut through the bureaucracy and attack that oil and talk with kevin costner who this week got order from blood pressure for the machine that sucks up oil and separates it from water. let's check in with randi kaye for the developments.
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>> thanks, anderson. tonight, fallout from the spill. the federal government has a mandate for offshore drilling. filing for a drilling permit, if companies provide detailed steps they'll follow to prevent a well blowout. here we are day 60 and this is just happening. just yesterday, bp's ceo tony hayward testified on capitol hill he knew little about the well before it started spewing oil into the gulf. the leader of the company, not knowing. that's right. he didn't know a lot of other things, either, yesterday. or you could say he was lawyered up. take a look. >> we don't yet have all the answers. i'm not prepared to speak late. i had no prior knowledge. i hadn't drawn a conclusion. i can't recall that number. no, sir. i'm afraid i don't know. i don't know. i don't believe. i had no prior knowledge. i don't know that -- i can't speak to -- again, i haven't seen this. i don't believe. as i said, i don't believe.
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i don't know. i don't know. >> i don't know. well, oil continues to spill into the gulf of mexico. according to federal estimates, up to 12.6 million gallons of oil spewed into the gulf since this disaster began two months ago. but efforts to contain the crude are improving. the coast guard says approximately 25,000 barrels were collected over a 24-hour period yesterday. that's an increase of more than 25% over wednesday. and today, a team of scientists warning of the dangers of the methane gas also leaking into the gulf now, such vast amount that is there's a threat of what's called dead scone zones, huge areas where marine life can't survive without the oxygen. a lawsuit seeking to lift the government's six-month moratorium appears to be going forward good to see you both. charlotte, you have said that bp
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created what you called an environmental disaster but president obama is causing an economic disaster and that the president you said was looking for some butt to kick but that he didn't realize he was kicking your butt and the others in your parish. what do you mean by that? >> well, on day 60, i think we're all wary of the oil spill and certainly your emergency roomier comments about tony hayward are disturbing. but know that we're sitting here at port fourche, the site of the service industry that actually services the 33 rigs that the president's moratorium suspended. that has economic impacts that we'll be feeling for years here in the fourche parish and it is very disturbing to me. >> how has it affected your parish already? i understand companies are
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losing business or moving the business and people are being laid off? >> that's correct. some of the rigs have used the force mejur clause and shopping the rigs elsewhere in the world. it's a pass near a helicopter facility just this afternoon and it's normally full of vehicles from all states and most of the states in the union. and it was virtually emptied today so already this moratorium impacted us economically. it's a very, very grave concern for us. and it's difficult for america to understand that while we're fighting the oil that's approaching our shores and disturbing our wetlands, we're asking that the industry be allowed to continue. it is something we've attempted to educate america now for the past 20 years. and right now is the only attention we're getting because the oil is coming up to the shore.
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>> right. well i know a lot of -- >> these ceos -- >> i was saying i know a lot of people like yourself that thousands, tens of thousands of jobs will be lost here. the rig workers, cooks, support ships that help the rigs but you had a chance actually to speak to the president himself when he toured your parish. what did you say to him and what was his response? >> he was gracious enough to invite me into his vehicle when we were going to the beach. and, i had to take the opportunity to ask him to reconsider. just knowing what it would do to our economy, that it would devastate our economy. and that it would take a very, very long time for us to recover from this. >> what did he tell you? >> it seemed -- he said that the mood of the nation was is such that he felt that a time-out, a pause was necessary. certainly, the nation is seeing the images of the oiled wildlife and that's a big concern.
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but again -- >> remember. >> america must understand that stopping the oil is not the answer. stopping the bp rig is the answer. >> let me bring in our joe johns, he is in d.c. tonight. joe, a group of offshore oil companies are suing in federal court. the case will go to court here on monday in new orleans. they call the moratorium abuse of discretion. how, joe, will they make the case since the government is saying it's not so bad. 33 rigs. won't be able to drill and thousands, something like 3,600 other platforms oil and gas platforms that they can still employ these people. >> reporter: yeah. absolutely right. that is very tough situation and so many peoples' hearts go out to the people in the gulf, including the people who actually can't work right now who were supposed to be working on rigs drilling for oil. but the bottom line is abusive discretion is what they have to show and that's a tough test for them because this administration can point to a lot of things,
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factors that were going on in the gulf. you have dead people. you have a rig at the bottom of the gulf. you have injury to the fisheries. you have all kinds of things happening there. a catastrophe and the administration simply says, look, we needed to have a six-month time-out here to do that so tough for these folks to go into court and force the hand, get rid of the moratorium by saying the government did something wrong. >> yeah. and this is something the president wants so do you see this moratorium getting overturned? >> reporter: you know, this is sort of more of a political issue right now in a lot of ways and there are people on capitol hill who were talking about ways to do, legally it's very difficult, but mary landrieu, the senator from louisiana, for example, has seven or eight points she thinks the president should do and instead of having a blanket ban. including she says just get all
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the inspectors together, spend them out to each deepwater rig individually. check it out thoroughly and then you decide whether this rig should go ahead and start drilling. >> right. a lot of folks want to do one rig at a time instead of a blanket moratorium. so all right. we have to leave it there. both of you, thank you both for your time tonight. now let's go back to anderson. thanks. just ahead, louisiana, maddening example of bureaucracy getting in the way say state workers. vacuums were working just fine. why did the coast guard shut them down. also ahead, saving the bird. how foez found covered in oil are cleaned and hopefully one day returned to the wild. talking to kevin costner about the efforts here in the gulf. bp purchased dozens of the machines he designed to pick up oil.
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want to show you something that kind of really gives an indication of what people here in the gulf are made of. this is what governor jindal calls cajun ingenuity. sucking up oil from the waters along the north shore of barataria bay. they're sucking up thousands of gallons of oil. now, the federal government didn't supply the barges. bp didn't either. that is local effort with the national guard, state officials, local officials and it's an example, really, of gulf residents trying to help themselves and trying to show bp the way. take a look. on east grand tara island, a seemingly successful experiment. a rudimentary vacuum to suck up oil on the surface of oil and sends it to a container on a nearby barge. you would think dozens of vacuums like this deployed all over louisiana for weeks but they haven't.
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in fact, there are a handful being used and think eve only been running for a couple of days. when you see this, what do you think? >> this is exactly how we need to be fighting this oil. >> reporter: governor jindal and local officials are so fed up waiting for bp to clean up oil they're testing a few of the vacuums with the help of the national guard. >> we know we have to use more aggressive, more creative slugss. >> reporter: you call this cajun ingenuity? >> absolutely. the same people that brought you the higgins boats are bringing you -- same people with the new orleans saints bringing you this. it's vacuum truck on the back of a barge. this isn't a silver bullet but saying this in combination with the sand drudging, a louisiana idea, booming the critical passes in combination of drudges and rocks in the main passes all of those together give you true multiple lines of defense. >> reporter: state officials insist the vacuums could be a big help. without something to suck up this oil, what you are left with essentially are booms which prevents the oil from spreading
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fourth sbeer the marshes. the oil congeals here in the thick globs and in order to get rid of the oil, they come in with absorbent pads, the method they're using now. governor jindal brought a group of reporters out to demonstrate how they work. a photo-op to be sure but the governor is willing to try just about anything to get bp's attention. governor, what is your message to bp? >> bottom line message is we're showing it works. let's not wait. the plans they have got are not enough. the idea to come out with absorbent pads or send us shallow water skimmers offer leave the oil is not enough. they have to fight the oil before it's at the coastline. my message is this is a war and the way to win the war is to throw everything we have got to keep the oil out of the wetlands. >> reporter: how frustrating 50-plus days into this, it comes down to you with national guard
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and jerry rigging a system? >> we have said we won't wait for others to rescue us. we know what's at stake. this is our way of life. it is frustrating. we're told there will be more skimmers and boom tomorrow. enough is enough. >> after shooting that story, instead of giving the approval, the coast guard shut down all of the barges. that's right. it shut them down until they could be inspected. according to the governor's office, for 24 hours the barges sat idle and then the coast guard reversed itself after publicity and said never mine. they scrapped the inspections saying the barges are safe after all. they could go back to work. according to the governor, this is one reason why people here are so frustrated. they want to help themselves but in this case it seems at least bureaucracy stopped them and lost a day tied up in red tape. not alone in that feeling. kevin costner, actor, director long said he can help clean up oil spills with machines he developed. spent millions of dollars
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developing the machines to separate oil from water and says years no one listened in government or industry. bp ordered 32 of the machines and costner testified before congress this week, his passion was visible. take a look. >> what i would recommend if i could, right, what i would demand, if i could, and i can do neither so what i would beg, what i would beg the leaders in this country and the oil industry together would be before you lift the moratorium, before you do that, to please have cleanup technology in place or at least on a way in a specific time that's designed to
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meet and match with full force the worst-case scenario that can be presented to us. >> this is one of the devices that costner designed and says he came up with the idea after the exxon valdez disaster. i talked to him about it. kevin, how long have you been working on this machine, exactly? >> well, i've -- i took a technology at a department of energy probably in '92 or '93 and it was a very small, little machine and extrapolated that idea into r&d for about three years and enormous amount of money thinking we didn't have to fight oil spills the way we had been seeing the recuring images and basically i thought that we could do this. and we scaled that up into something incredibly efficient and robust to the point where we could separate 200 gallons a minute. and, you know, at the purity of
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99.9% oil and 99.9 water. >> you can do 200 gallons a minute? >> a minute. it's a centrifuge center and centrifuges have been around forever but this is a highly technical piece of machinery developed by david micrantz and formed a company and my brother helped me develop this and brought it to market, simply a thing that somehow it just didn't -- i guess, people thought spills were over. >> yeah. i was amazed to read in your testimony that you took this project for years. i mean, to government agencies, to oil companies, private industry and you were told, well, it is too expensive or wasn't really needed. oil spills were kind of, you know, pa say, a thing of the past. >> yeah. it was -- there was all manner of excuses and none of them added up and so, you know, and, you know, spills occur on a daily basis. i think someone said enough oil spills on a daily basis that
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every seven months we're having an exxon valdez out there. it is out of mind out of sight and takes something like this happen and we're pointed at it and got sucked back into this thing. >> how mobile are these devices? is this machine. can you put it on an airboat? does it need a barge. >> the footprint's about five by five for the largest machine. weighs about 4,000 pounds. we should technically probably be on every skimmer out there because as you know skimmers are picking up 90% water, 10% oil. right? they throw it into a barge and you have a big baerch with 90% water, 10% oil. what this machine simply does in that particular case will give a pure payload. suddenly a barge coming back to shore with, you know, 99% oil opposed to the other way around. and so -- >> it is amazing. >> there's a way to, you know, yeah. it's -- it's kind of amazing to you and not so amazing to me.
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when's been amazing to me is that it's taken this long but again i guess the movies i make are long, too. >> kevin, i appreciate you being with us tonight and talking about this. i can't wait to see them deployed and there are a lot of people here who, you know, feel forgotten and feel like people aren't paying attention around the world and know you are working on this for so long and got to be a great day for you. kevin, thank you very much, for being with us. >> thanks, anderson. ahead, the campaign to shut down another bp oil rig. this one bigger and more complex than the deepwater horizon that exploded causing the current disaster. a whistle blower warns another rig they have is unsafe and he says he has proof. we take inside the effort to save the oil-soaked birds before it's too late. you know, when i grow up,
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well, as the effort to stop the oil leak continues, members of congress trying to find out how all this happened. one of the people grilling bp ceo tony hay ward yesterday was a republican of louisiana. spill was in his backyard and hi arrived armed with powerful picture. brown pelicans. louisiana state bird just taken off the endangered species list last year. this is the first time hayward testified since the spill. not a friendly audience, not by a long shot. >> i want to ask you, who's in charge on the ground? >> the national incident commander is the person in charge of this operation. >> so is the federal government telling you what to do or are you telling the incident commander what do do? when the local officials say we need something approved, they're getting run around in circles right now. >> well, we are trying to -- we are not being perfect. i acknowledge that.
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we are trying very hard to do better. >> not perfect. quite an understatement. i spoke with the congressman shortly after the hearing. >> what did you think of tony hayward? >> well, you could tell that he came really just i think prepared to on fis kate and didn't answer most of the questions. i mean, frankly, i wanted to see a sense of urgency from tony hayward. i still to this day for over a month now i have not seen the sense of urgency from bp or the federal government in the fact that you need a chain of command where decisions can get made quickly and, anderson, what i mean with that, within a day, within 24 hours from when our local officials say this is what we need to solve this problem, they right now are taking five days. >> is that right? five days? >> five days most leaders are telling me. >> weeks ago, when the president came here on the second trip, you know, that was supposed to be cleared up. the local officials were getting coast guard representatives who allegedly could -- had decisionmaking authority.
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you are saying that's not happening. >> no. in fact, a few days ago a leader on the ground said he is spending more time fighting with the federal government and bp than fighting the oil. there's no excuse for that. i mean, we are now two months into this disaster. and you still have this problem on the ground where our local leaders and i mean, look, anderson a big frustration is the local leaders are the only ones coming up with ideas to protect the marsh and told from bp and the federal government is, no, and they just find too many ways to say no instead of having real alternatives. they don't have any alternatives. they just tell our folks, well, there's reasons not to do this and that instead of saying we want to work with you to stop the problem. here in the coast of louisiana. >> congressman, i appreciate your time tonight. thank you very much. >> thank you, anderson. up next, there's another rig sitting 122 miles off louisiana coast. a rig which one whistle-blower says is an even bigger accident
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waiting to happen. we're keeping them honest. an up close look at the fort jackson wildlife rehabilitation center. sick birds arrive every single day. we'll show you what it takes to clean a pelican. we'll be right back. thought so. does your makeup do that? neutrogena cosmetics. ♪ my country ♪ 'tis of thee ♪ sweet land ♪ of liberty ♪ of thee i sing [ laughs ] ♪ oh, land ♪ where my fathers died ♪ land of the pilgrims' pride ♪ from every mountainside ♪ let freedom ring dr. scholl's back pain relief orthotics
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with shockguard technology give you immediate relief that lasts all day long. dr. scholl's. pain relief is a step away. hi, i'm randi kaye. a news and business bulletin. cleanup under way in minnesota after 39 tornadoes hit the state on thursday. at least three people were killed, 17 injured.
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nevada now has the highest rate of unemployment in the nation. at 14%, topping michigan who came in second but held the top spot for the past four years. a so-called female viagra pill rejected by food and drug administration panel and advisory committee says the makers have failed to prove it can boost a woman's sex drive and say that the side effects outweigh the benefits. and a piece of paper sells for $1.2 million at suter by's in new york. obviously, not just any piece of paper. john lennon's autographed lyrics for "a day in the life," the last song on the 1967 album "sergeant pepper's lonely heart club." those are the headlines. more "ac360" from the gulf right after this. boss: so word's gettin' out that geico can help people save in even more ways -
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you can't get it at a health food store. lovaza isn't right for everyone. tell your doctor if you're allergic to fish, have other medical conditions and about any medications you're taking, especially those that may increase risk of bleeding. blood tests are needed before and during treatment. in some, ldl or bad cholesterol may increase. possible side effects include burping, infection, flu-like symptoms, upset stomach, and change in sense of taste. ask your doctor about lovaza, the prescription that starts in the sea. tonight, the story of another rig in the gulf. it's called the atlantis, run by bp. second largest rig in the gulf and much bigger and deeper than the deepwater horizon. monster platform some say is an accident waiting to happen. at least two dozen lawmakers are calling for it to be shut down. keeping them honest here's joe johns. >> reporter: 122 miles off the
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louisiana coast in deeper water and able to pump more oil than deep horizon ever did. it's atlantis. asking for the engineering diagrams, the drawings that show you how to put it together, you'll get a surprise. 90%, that's right, 90% of the safety documentation was missing as of the end of 2008. that's according to the advocacy group water and food watch getting the information from a bp supervisor turned whistle-blower. the group says it's an accident waiting to happen and in court seeking an injunction claiming it needs to be shut down now because in an emergency no one would know how to. >> in a production facility, there are millions of components, moving parts, that the operator needs to know where they are to turn it on, to shut it off in case of an accident
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and it is outrageous that 90% of the safety documentation is missing. >> reporter: last month, two dozen members of congress sent a letter to the administration asking for the rig to be shut down. >> why can't you just go out to the rig, look around and see if everything is in order or snot. >> well, for one thing, the bp atlantis goes 7,000 feet into the sea and then even deeper into where the oil is, so a lot of these components aren't visible from the platform. >> reporter: bp says reports claiming the operating with incomplete or inaccurate documents aren't true and operators have access to up to date drawings needed to run the platform safely. bp says it's done two investigations into those assertions and says it's nothing more than a minor internal process issue that has no bearing on the safe operation of the platform. internal e-mails suggest that as far back as 2008 bp knew it had a problem. one employee said bp had incomplete drawings of the rig's
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internal structure but bp worried that turning the documents over to people who have requested them could lead to one official called catastrophic operator errors assuming they were correct. and why doesn't the interior department step in and shut down atlantis while bp gets the paper work in order? press secretary for the department said they could not comment because the matter is under litigation but in a court filing interior secretary ken salazar said the nflgs of claims about atlantis should be done by mid-september. joe johns, cnn, washington. kenneth avenue is the whistle-blower you heard in joe's report. here's what he told me. you're saying basically that the atlantis rig in the gulf, a rig producing far more oil than the deepwater horizon did is unsafe. correct? >> the drawings were not completed properly which is going to cause problems with the
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operators being able to operate the rig safely. on an ongoing basis. and because of the size of the atlantis, four to five times the output of the deepwater, any fall your there would be four to five times the problem with the deepwater. >> when did you first bring the problems to bp and what did they say, how did they respond? >> anderson, what really bothers me is i have seen, you know, i tried for a year and a half to get the problem fixed. i knew from my experience as a project controls engineer that this was a deadly recipe for problems and for catastrophic errors, and it just didn't happen. the management tone there was, you know, let's take the short cut. let's do teng nearing as fast as we can and forget about the normal things you should do. >> this rig is still operating the whole time. mms inspecting the rigs. and they didn't manage to find any of this.
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in fact, bp said mms gave them a safety award. what is your feeling about mms' performance in all of this? do you think they were rubber stamping what bp wanted them to? >> exactly, anderson. they were negligent in the enforcement and regulation of bp on the atlantis project. you know, we tried for a year and a half, my attorney and i both to get the mms to take notice. they're just not checking these drawings at all. okay? and they should be. that's their, you know, requirement. >> bp addressed your concerns in january in a letter to congressional investigators saying that your allegations are unfounded and that the platform had final documentation in place before it started operating. >> and my answer to that would be that when that attorney wrote that letter in january she deceived congress. i think at bp you have this two face problem. you have a public face with the tony haywards saying everything is okay and pr groups and attorneys.
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three weeks ago tony wrote a letter to his people saying everything was fine there from the get-go, from the date we started and still fine and three weeks ago a judge did an ap interview which was done with swartz and he said, he said it's done. it was never done and it's still not done. >> and as you said, i mean, you raised red flags about the atlantis last year. the government's known about the allegations you are making for months now. the platform's operating while investigating. based on what you know, what you believe, should the atlantis be in operation right now? >> i think they need to shut that rig down, anderson. they need to go out there. it's very simple to check to see if the drawings are done. you know, all the stuff is electronic on a data base. they're not doing that and they should. >> kenneth, appreciate your time, ken. thanks. >> you're welcome, anderson. up next, where rescue birds are cared for until they're nearly ready to be reintroduced to the wild.
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want to tell you about the latest on the efforts to save birds affected by the spill. the lucky ones go to fort jackson where they're given a chance at least at survival. that's the good news. bad news is number of collected in the wake of the disaster keeps on climbing. according to the u.s. government to date more than 635 oil-soaked birds have been collected alive. got an up close look at what it takes to clean one bird. take a look.
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when birds are first brought in, though, they're not immediately cleaned? >> no, no. they couldn't withstand the stress. >> the stress of being cleaned might kill them? >> yes. we stabilize them for about three days. >> when's so difficult about the wash for them? >> it is a really difficult process for the bird. they're held still. bathed with water and don't realize that the humans that are working with them are necessarily trying to help them. as far as they're concerned they're being attacked. >> it's incredibly stressful? >> yes. >> that can kill them? >> yeah, sure. stress is known to kill just about any kind of wildlife and human beings so it's a very stressful process. >> is there any -- >> when are they cleaning there? >> the pouch. the pouch of the pelican. we try to clean inside and outside. that pouch is very elastic and try to stretch it out to get both inside and outside very clean. >> what are they doing right
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here? right here, what's the process for cleaning? >> he is just beginning to process the bird. they'll get a good look at it. basically get the wings held together. to keep it safe. and then, this is actually a pretreating process. >> what does that do? >> it loosens the oil. it makes it much softer. the oil is weathered and fairly dry and that basically breaks down the oil and easier to wash the bird. >> all over the bird? >> correct. all over the bird and typically what they'll do is put that in a special enclosure with birds pretreated and in about a half hour to hour's time they'll pull that same bird out and begin the wash process. >> they literally have to work inside the bird's mouth? >> yep. we try to wash -- these birds are preening if you watch in the bin. they try to clean their feathers. >> cleaning themselves?
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>> trying to comb the feathers and realign themselves to be oil proof and get the oil off of them and ingested some and want to clean as much oil from inside the bill and the mouth and the pouch and so, it's much inside as it is outside. >> do you get used to seeing this? >> not really, no. it's -- this is pretty moving. it's heart breaking thing to think that these beautiful animals are soiled. basically, to make our lives, you know, convenient and simple. so it's -- we've -- we all have a hand in this. i think we all have a hand in cleaning it up. >> a lot of people working hard. man in charge, jay holcombe. thanks very much. you are doing this for 40 years. how does this spill compare to what you have seen? >> well, you know, one thing different about this spill is the oil keeps pumping and
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therefore we can't really plan for an end to it and i always say spills start with three pieces. there's the beginning, the middle and everything's working and getting it cleaned up and then the last drop is cleaned and still in the beginning so that mikes it really tiring and frustration as everybody else -- >> we have seen the process where the birds are cleaned and then brought here. can you show us this? >> this is a cage outside. where these guys are in the rehabilitation stage. see them? and so these pelicans -- they'll calm down in a second. some of the first pelicans you saw that were really oiled, some of them are these. >> amazing the difference. >> yeah. this is what they look like when they're cleaned. the ones with the white heads are considered adults and over there and nesting birds and the ones with chicks and so on. >> and then will you -- will they be rereleased into the wild? >> yes. they're ready. >> where will they re-release them? >> the u.s. department of fish and wildlife are releasing them
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in florida and move them as far away as possible from the oil. it will be on sunday. >> the birds were taken off the endangered species list just last year. it must be a punch in the gut for you. >> yeah. it is for everyone. they brought chicks from florida years ago and built the whole colonies and now impacted and every adult here that you see represents its young that probably will not survive because they need to have these to feed their babies. >> i read i think a statisticing and might get it wrong but 1% of oiled birds survive. is that true? >> no. that is not true. that's based on old information. we'll put that to rest right now. >> okay. >> that's information from years ago without the technology we have now. >> what kind of percentage? do you have survival rates? >> yeah. it depends on species. >> bigger birds, easier to get.
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more noticeable. >> right. yeah. these guys are one -- rank on the higher and easier to retablation. doesn't mean they're not vulnerable and don't die. sometimes 80%. >> the bird spread its wings. not going to take off? >> no. just exercising. >> so i'm sorry. 80% you said? >> around 80%. these are really healthy birds and captured really quick. they were oiled but brought in. cleaned fairly and internally healthy birds so we think they have a good chance of surviving. >> folks heard there's not enough people out there and people around the country to volunteer. what do you tell people? >> well, you know, for the rehab program here right here at fort jackson, we have enough people and i know thousands have signed up and calling in more people as needed. you can't bring everybody in. they have to be managed and so on. as far as helping out catching the birds, you know, the program out there is managed by u.s. fish and wildlife service and
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state department of fish and wildlife for la l and they decide that. get put on a list and be called if needed. >> do you feel like you have a handle on the birds in crisis or is it hard to tell? >> it is hard to tell. i feel -- i never feel like i have a handle on it because we know the oil's out there and can come to shore. they're nesting and nesting spots and if it comes to the nesting areas like these they could be impacted and like in a waiting game like everybody else to see what's happening. >> it's amazing work. thank you for staying up. >> sure. in all the coverage giving to the spill it is important to recognize that the city of new orleans is alive and well. the beaches in mississippi and throughout alabama and many of the beaches in florida are fine to visit. people want you to visit. here in new orleans, the life of the city beats on. coping with another catastrophe. the city has seen so much and yet still standing. in fact, rising.
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wefr going to talk to terrence blanchard after the break. what did we make better ? communities. industry. energy. her. this. lives. how ? by bringing together... information. ... people ... ... machines ... ... systems ... ideas... verizon helps businesses worldwide... including fortune 500 companies... find and achieve... better. better. better. better.
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while i was building my friendships, better. better.
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you walk around the streets of new orleans and you sense not just that the city is alive and well but you sense the resolve of the people here, the resilience. people survived katrina and will overcome this. if you look at the city, new orleans, it's remarkable in five years. the city is alive again. best food around. seafood is good to eat. as great as it's ever been. come down for a visit or vacation. a lot of stories people canceling vacations. a woman in the hotel told me that somebody called up to cancel the honeymoon. no reason to do that here. the city is great.
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beaches are all fine. and good to go to. when you go come to new orleans, though, you have to check out the live music. you hear it not just here in the quarter on bourbon street but frenchman's and the snug harbor. this is a city of music an it's a city of musicians. i spoke to one of the most famous here, terrence blanchard, a composer and trumpet. he captured the mood in the wake of the hurricane. here's some of my conversation with terrence blanchard. ♪ can new orleans survive? >> oh, yeah. i think new orleans can survive but it's tough, though. with this oil spill, what we've been seeing is that it's not necessarily the devastation that's or the damage that's going to occur in the gulf but it's a lot of it is perception about when's happening here in this area. >> we have been trying to point
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out that, you know, new orleans itself, it's great. it's the same great city it's always been. >> right. but when you talk to people in the hotel industry, some of the bookings are down because people are concerned about whether the food is going to be safe. ♪ >> it's also just incredible this happened now. we are coming up on the fifth anniversary of katrina and the city is back. this was a great year in new orleans. good things happening in the school districts. there's exciting stuff going on here. and the city is rising. >> well, that's the unfortunate thing. i mean, you look at it. we have more restaurants now than we have ever had. the school systems, the testing has gone through the roof. a lot of people coming here who want to be a part of the rebuilding process. ♪ >> for people who haven't been here, what is it about new orleans? you know, it's a hard thing. like trying to talk about dancing or something. it is a hard thing to -- >> i know. it is funny.
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we had some friends who work on the show came by and hung out at the house one day and one of the persons that works on the show put it best. he said new orleans is a city of moments. and i think that's what people experience when they come here. they come here and they have moments that they can never forget. >> you're saying new orleans is a city of moments. my dad once said that new orleans is a city of memory. >> yes. >> and when's i find amazing about new orleans is that new orleans doesn't wipe away the past. doesn't wipe away even the bad past and even on the buildings, they don't take names. they just add a new name so if you go to the ritz hotel, you can see crest above the thing. >> right. >> you go to where my dad went to high school, francis. the nichols, it is the racist segregationist governor of louisiana and now called the frederick douglas academy and they have the name of the segregationist and racist guy and likeness above the door and that's new orleans.
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even the bad from the past, it's all just kind of layered upon. >> i love that about the city. do you know in the world of jazz, we have families here that date back to the origins of the music? you know what i mean? generation after generation. i love that. >> so this spill will become part of the history of it? i mean, it will be incorporated into it, not forgotten but the city will move on? >> i think the fortunate part is how we rebound from it. that's the opportunities we have had. i said after katrina, we've been given a clean slate. everything you hate and have problems with about the city, you can kreblgt. well, i think the same thing occurs now. everything we have hated about deregulation, everything we have hated about the big oil companies, they have an opportunity to make it right. and i think we're going to find out where their hearts are, you know, through this process because in the end this is a opportunity for us to make some serious change.
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♪ when the saints go marching in ♪ >> that was "when the saints come marching in." new orleans will per severe. !á
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